The sharing of the lived experience of the people with HIV is a source of support for PLHIV and also influences attitudes of other important people like their famiy and their community towards them. This can lead to changes in discriminatory behavior and active offers of support
During a group education session, one positive woman shared that her elder son had started acting in a very discriminatory way towards her. He kept complaining that her illness had stigmatized him, and he felt ashamed of himself when he went to work, and he had to listen to the comments of his co-workers. .
On hearing this, another participant in the group volunteered to help. He was a school teacher and himself positive. He sought out and spoke to the son, and shared his own story. He spoke about how he himself had to listen to so many comments about his status, but he had learnt to overcome them, and sometimes even educate other people using his own example. Many people, near and dear ones had hurt him, why was the son hurting his own mother.
This sharing of a personal story inspired change in the son, who is now very supportive to his mother.
In another group discussion, Yalappa shared about his difficuties in caring for his grandchildren who were positive, after his daughters death. Yalappa became emotional during his sharing, and spoke about his difficulties in managing with the two children. He said that although he had stretched his resources and ensured that the children got the right treatment and medicines, he was just not able to make sure they had good nutritious food, what could be done.
Yalappa’s story moved one of his neighbors to such an extent, that from that day onwards, the neighbor sends a share of whatever vegetables and other food they cook in their house to Yalappa’s grandchildren. Any special occasion and food is always given to these children.